Inov-8 Bare X Lite 150 – a barefoot shoe review

Zero mm Drop from heel to toe, anatomical last for improved biomechanics, unique synthetic rubber and EVA compound for superb grip and maximized cushion at a merely 7mm sole! Those are some of the key features of the new Inov-8 Bare X Lite 150 which will be out in a white and red color scheme in fall 2011 followed by 4 brighter colors such as blue and lime in spring 2012.

We took the blue and white version for a couple of test runs to get you a sneak peek before this new minimalist running rocket is hitting stores.

Before trying the 150 on we were already wearing another minimalist shoe all day – and it felt great – but when putting the 150 on we instantly relaxed even more. It was a real treat for our feet.

The first impression was:

– super cool look in the blue and white and it looks fast

– very breathable with a light mesh upper

– tongue less one piece upper with a stretch feature on top for perfect fit. This makes for a great fit and their is no tongue moving around all time

– so stitching or seams that could be in the way when wearing barefoot

– good hold in the mid foot section and plenty of space in the toe box but not too much so your toes would be moving left and right on uneven terrain

We were impressed with the first look and took the shoe for the first run the very next morning. We were very surprised by the amount of cushion this shoe offered with nothing more than a 7mm sole. The shoe fit like a glove even on challenging ground and our turnover instantly went up from about 150/per minute in other running shoes to almost 180/ per minute in the Bare X Lite. (180 turnover is about what you want to reach for most efficient running and reduced impact)

After about 30 minutes into the run we could tell that our feet really started working (which is a great thing as your feet tend to be dead meat in cushioned running shoes with lots of heel drop) but at the same time our whole body was extremely relaxed in comparison to other minimalist running shoes.

This overall great impression was confirmed during our further runs. It does take a careful approach to go from cushioned or supportive running shoes to a barefoot like running style but with the 150 we were able to put in way more miles than expected during the first couple of runs already. We are no scientists but this is something that we credit to the great biomechanics this shoes allows you to run with. In addition to that the outer sole offers great protection from stones, rocks and other sharp objects, we never had to use socks during our test runs, the shoes is extremely breathable and for a shoe weighing in a mere 170 grams in a UK8 it offers great last with an expected 300 miles! (almost 500 kilometer)

For everybody who is new to natural or barefoot running – Inov-8 offers a couple of versions with 9mm, 6mm and 3mm heel drop to help you adjust to the new form of running.

So far the Inov-8 Bare X Lite 150 is our favorite shoe when it comes to natural running with a little added comfort. We are very much looking forward to reviewing further Inov-8 products for you as they have a great line of zero mm drop and trail running shoes!

Stay tuned for more reviews and in the meanwhile – Rock on!

Compression Socks – Do or Don’t

We had the great pleasure of testing several different compression socks from different manufacturers ranging from SLS3 to CEP and after months of testing in all kinds of different climates and conditions, here is what compression socks can really do for you.

Here is the summary – ask us for individual reports on 2XU, CEP, BV Sport, Bauerfeind, SLS3, X-Socks, The Mobile Society, Skins

It sure took a little time to find the right compression socks for us but overall we have to say: We love’em. No matter if you are travelling long distance by car or plane, if you are running endless miles and want to fatigue later or if you are running short distance and want to gain some added power. Compression socks can help.

We have divided this test into long distance, short distance, travel and recovery. For any further questions you may have about them – shoot us an email to info@trinited.com

We are not going to throw stuff like ‘better blood circulation’ or ‘higher oxygen levels’ at you as this has been a real life test and not a laboratory test. It is all about what you feel and experience whilst and after wearing compression socks.

LONG DISTANCE – probably the most effect here

Compression Socks are definitely a great tool for any endurance athlete going the longer distance. Increased performance through better and more powerful stride, significantly delayed fatigue on long runs, fast recovery after workout resulting in higher ‘quality’ mileage during training and less to no more Achilles issues even after long mileage on hard surfaces are the main effects we’ve experienced.

SHORT DISTANCE – less about recovery and more about performance feel

In comparison to the general opinion, compression socks are also great for shorter distances such as 10k races.  A more powerful and effective stride will benefit your running and results. Use a version with foot to add support to your ankles on uneven surfaces.

TRAVEL – no more feeling sluggish after long flights and rides

No matter if you are driving or flying. The sluggish feeling you used to have after departing the plane – GONE. Even after 12 hour flights we felt fresh and ready for the next workout. Uh and as a side note – they have a really nice warming effect on overly air conditioned planes.

RECOVERY – At work, at home, when out and dancing

If you feel like dancing in the evening, chance is you didn’t train enough during the day. However, if you have a job that requires a lot of standing.: Compression socks really take the pain out of your legs and wearing them for 2 hours after a tough workout will help your legs to be fresh for the next session.

SUMMARY

We have tested all socks in temperatures ranging from 110 Fahrenheit in the dessert to 15 Fahrenheit in snowy mountain terrain and yet there was not a single situation in which we did not appreciate wearing them. No matter what the distance is – compression socks are legal performance enhancers. However, it is important to find the right pair and size for you and depending on the sport it might be better to get a pair of sleeves or calf guards rather than socks (for example for triathlons). The one negative point you have to deal with in cold climates is that extensive wear of compression socks leads to added drying out of the skin. Nothing a little body lotion can’t solve though.

Product Test – BV Sport Compression Sleeves

As promised on Slowtwitch – here is a review of the BV Sport Compression Sleeves.We’ve taken this test a while back and ever since the BV Sport Booster has established itself as one of our favorite Compression Socks / Sleeves for sport and travel.

Brand: BV Sport

Produkt: Booster, Prorecup, Confort.

Website: http://www.bvsport.ch

Price:  75 Swiss Franks for Booster and Confort, 102 Swiss Franks for Prorecup

Miles Tested: app. 187

Test Conditions: From sunny dessert in 110 Fahrenheit to snowy mountains in 15 Fahrenheit. Run through the dessert, rivers, snow, in high and low altitude. Both in racing and training.

Ordering process: A little more complicated through leg measurements required when ordering but therefore you get a testers favorite. Sizing turned out to be perfect.

Sock Feel: The material appears a little rougher than other socks. However, after putting them on it turned out to be a good feeling on the skin.

Seams: Not an issue on the Booster as it doesn’t have a foot. As for the Prorecup and Confort they are situated in front of your toes where you don’t feel them during exercise.

Compression: Great, tight compression. Very nice compact feeling on the calf which made for a very ‘athletic’ feel.

Cushion: No cushion due to no foot on the Booster, nice and thin feel on Confort and Prorecup

Use: Easy use and fast to put on thanks to the missing foot.

Performance: The socks perform under any condition. There was no overheating (BV SPORT recommends to drench them in water in hot climates) and we felt positive effects regardless to the climate.

Durability: So far they survived a lot of running and washing. We tried both machine and hand wash, dragged them through the dirt and freezing cold water – short: we really weren’t gentle but they are keeping up great.

Regeneration: Great effect after the workout. Even after tough hill workouts, regeneration was a lot faster and during workouts our legs definitely kept up a lot longer. Great thing: Even if you don’t want to spend the money on 3 different pairs of socks and decide to go with the Booster alone: It is doing the trick. Top in terms of recovery.

Look: We love the look of all 3 styles. The Booster looks very athletic and powerful, the Prorecup comes in a clean white and the Confort in a simple black which allows to wear them with a suit as well.

Comments: Great choice for triathletes as it can be worn under the wetsuit during the swim already, which saves time in transition. The fact that BV Sport is testing its products a lot and even offers suggestions for proper use makes this product even more desirable. Test winner together with Bauerfeind, CEP and SLS3. It is up to you if you want one pair that offers it all, or 3 specific pairs.

With the Prorecup and Confort, BV Sport offers a compression ‘alternative’ for every hour of the day. The Prorecup has a very specific compression for the most effective regeneration 2 hours after the work out. For the rest of the day, travel and work, Confort is your choice.

Yaktrax – Product Review ‘first look’

The early winter 2010 was dominated by ice and snow in and around Hamburg and it made training almost impossible for us. We paid for it early in the season suffering from the little mileage we were able to put in running and cycling.

With the early months of 2011 facing the same forecast or worse than last year we had to come up with a solution. When we came across the Yaktrax Pro – Skid chains for your running shoes – we felt tempted and for 30 bucks it was worth a shot.

The Yaktrax are easy to put on – you simply slip them over the outer sole of your shoe, make sure they are in place and you are good to go.

The first test we did was a simple walk in the dark across a little snow and a hell lot of ice and it was an absolute revelation. Not only did the fit nice and snug (we even had to touch them from time to time cause we couldn’t feel them on our shoes – they are so lite and comfortable) and while all the other guys out there were slipping and sliding we experienced one safe step after the other.

The second test was a 60 minute run on mainly ice again – including running drills, pick ups to sprint and intervals. The Yaktrax allowed for an almost natural way of running out there – only when pushing hard of the foot it had the tendency to slip a little on really icy grounds but other than that – the perfect way of running in winter on ice. With the sun being up during the second session we even experienced a few of those moments where the brain plays games on you – just when about to step on really shiny and slippery looking ice during the run the brain was all ‘don’t do it, no no no, we’re going to hit the ground hard’ and the next thought was ‘wholly snap – we didn’t slide the slightest bit’ .

The Yaktrax seems to be a really great tool for running on ice and snow in the winter and the only downside so far – no more excuses for not running in winter time :-)’

In the next couple of days we will take a close look at the right sizes, what it feels like running them on asphalt in between and how the material seems to be holding up.

After that you’ll get a nice little video review with out final verdict.

Saucony KINVARA Run Test – FIRST RUNNING IMPRESSION

Saucony KINVARA RUN TEST – FIRST RUNNING IMPRESSION

It’s
a little like running on clouds – in a good way. The comfortable,
happy, all smiles kinda way.

As we hoped for – to be honest – when we
looked at the Kinvara for the first time the shoe looks a little like a
Toyota Yaris but certainly runs like an Audi: Comfortable – yet super sporty. What it got in common with the Yaris – definitely not our first pick when it comes to looks.

Despite
being a fantastic shoe for us personally the Kinvara is not the same
revelation as the Type A4 was when running it for the first time, yet better than most we’ve run.
However – the shoe is targeting a different runner or at least distance
– so let’s wait until we got a little more mileage in before making a
final judgement. For now – let’s give you a quick summary:

Considering
the mere 213 grams the shoe weighs in with the biggest surprise got to
us right when we headed out for the first run. The shoe has an
incredible cushion for its weight. Not the kind we are used to from
past Saucony models (you know a little too cushy, a little too soft) no
– the kind that makes us believe that the shoe might just be the right shoe
for a marathon or the final run in a long distance triathlon. (no
worries – we’ll find out for you to make sure)

The fit was nice – easy to
adjust with it’s standard issue Yankz laces – yet nothing spectacular.
Don’t get us wrong – the fit is fantastic – yet not as good as the Type
A4 but equal to the fit of the Saucony Tanget which we so far preferred
over most other shoes on the longer runs.

We started our run on
some trails to check out the support the shoe is offering and it easily
withstand all hazards of a solid trail run (we ran accross rather
bigger rocks and roots, no loose gravel – still prefer a solid trail
shoe for that) but it was not until we hit the roads that the shoe
really suprised us for a second time.

The by Saucony so highly
advertised XT 900 outer rubber as well as the triangle lug design
promise exceptional traction… and boy the are right!!:

The XT
900 has an incredible grip on the street without sacrifising any speed
– actually it encourages you to go even faster with a natural forward
movement. With every stride the shoe felt like it just grabs the street
in the backward motion of the stride and makes you wanna push your foot
right forward again.

We know – this is the point at which the
argument about propper running technique, etc starts and we have no
interest whatsoever to get into that now. All we are saying is: Did you
ever look at a super fast runner – his shoulders and uper body always
stay at the same level. That’s cause the lift of the legs turns into a
forward force and that’s exactly what this shoe reminds you to do.

So
to sum it up – after a slightly bad start ( the looks ) we now start
to believe that even in a running shoe it sometimes is all about the
inner values and we would not be surprised if we stand corrected after
a couple of longer runs by having to agree – this might just be the
perfect long distance running shoe!

Stay tuned!

Another Shoe Test – Saucony Kinvara – A First Impression

Ok boys and girls – it is time for some more testing. Today: The Saucony Kinvara!

A first impression before we take it out for a run:

We have to admit – the first ‘look’ is not as convincing as the Type A4 we testet last time. The shoe comes in many different colors ( we have the red version) and by just looking at it… it appears like a heavy shoe – which it turns out not to be. Weighing in at a mere 213grams thanks to the new ProGrid Lite.

The outer sole is looks fairly thick and like it’s not building a real unit with the rest of the shoe but slipping into it the shoe actually feels very much like one unit and thanks to the Yankz laces the shoe provides a perfect fit ( the laces are standard issue with the Kinvara )

The upper of the shoe is made of lightweight mesh but there is some sort of ‘plastic looking’ cover over it. We did not figure out the reason yet but we are hoping it does not influence the breathability in any negative way. We’ll know more after the run.

Saucony is promising a lightweight racing shoe that provides unbeatable cushion thanks to the super light ProGrid Lite as well as superior traction and durability thanks to their XT-900 rubber. If that’s what the shoe turns out to be – it’s one of the best surprise packages we’ve seen in a while. A little like compression socks – it takes some getting used to the look but the advantage ( may it be mental or physically) is outweighing the look!!

We’ll let you know more after the run!